Police as proxy

Nothing justifies police brutality. Something that does partially explain it, however, is the lack of a properly functioning public mental health system.
I am a psychiatric nurse who no longer tries to work in a “system” which is nothing short of a human rights travesty, lacking properly trained specialist nurses and dedicated specialist in-patient facilities.
Vulnerable, seriously ill people are constantly foisted upon the police who must act as proxy for mental health professionals.
I trained full time, on the job for four years back in the late 1980s to gain my registration.
Back then we had psychiatric hospitals with on-site emergency direct admissions services.
We treated people with complex major mental illness and substance abuse as inpatients for weeks, sometimes months before stepping them down to supported community re-integration.
We had community support and assessment teams which case-managed patients, with separate crisis assessment teams reserved primarily for first presentation crisis assessment.
We now have a system whereby student nurses undertaking university studies attend clinical placement in prisons rather than specialist hospitals and clinics.
Prison is routinely accepted as a therapeutic environment.
Every politician currently and over the past 30-odd years should be looking at the footage of police brutalising the mentally ill and seeing what inadequate, inappropriate policy and funding has produced.

Michelle Goldsmith,


Wicked tax policy

ANY modest amendments by the Labor Party to its plan to confiscate the franking credits attached to company dividends amounts to nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig.
A bit of tinkering here and there is small consolation for self-funded retirees relying predominantly on company dividends to fund their retirement.
As an example of the complete betrayal that Mr Shorten is proposing, imagine a retiree receiving $20,000 in fully franked dividends each year as their only income. Attached to those dividends will be approximately $8500 in franking credits.
The franking credits are simply recognition that the shareholder has already paid tax at the company rate of 30 per cent.
These credits are not taxpayer funded largesse bestowed upon greedy, wealthy shareholders by a benevolent government, as Shorten undoubtedly would like people to think.
If the shareholder’s personal tax rate is lower than the company rate, then the shareholder is rightly entitled to a refund.
In the above case, the total return to the shareholder is $28,500, including the franking credit.
Since the first $18,000 is currently tax free, the shareholder has a taxable income of approximately $10,500, which would currently attract tax of a bit less than $2000. This would mean a refund to the shareholder of roughly $6500.
This would never do for Shorten, Mr Fairness himself. His intention is to keep the tax credit for re-distribution to the more deserving, in typical Socialist fashion.
This will result in the princely sum of $10,500 copping $8500 in tax, which equates to about 81 per cent.
Nice work if you can get it.
It’s astounding Shorten doesn’t see his own duplicity in agitating for a banking royal commission to expose the odd shyster taking advantage of battling Australians, and handing down a tax policy as wicked as this one.

G Jude,


Apology not enough

It is very apparent and evident that politicians both federal and state share recessive genes with their capacity to significantly rort their parliamentary privileges and expenses with impunity and without a conscience with the sanctimonious belief that the electorate owes it to them.
This also reveals how delusional politicians and their political parties are, if they believe a simple apology and repayment of the rorts and the expression that they were innocent of wrong doing will reset the community’s trustworthy barometer on capricious politicians.

Scott Ramsay,


No optimism

After the 3G fiasco (Great Garbage Glut), the next example of wilful negligence by all levels of government will be the 3P (Power Provision Plan).
Last Thursday week the generation of electricity in Victoria by wind farms hovered around three per cent of installed capacity, was zero on Saturday, and was at these levels for two consecutive days last year.
Battery storage is proposed to tide us over these conditions as we move to renewables.
The two installations being constructed in Victoria are costing over $600 per kilowatt hour of storage (subsidised by the federal government), and a future minimum cost of $200 per kWh is projected.
It would be prudent to cover a 24 hour period.
Since the average state consumption over 24 hours is 112 gigawatt hours, the absolute rock-bottom cost of batteries to meet this demand is $22.4 billion.
On bad days some wind power will trickle in, and solar generation will contribute, but there is an economic limit to solar capacity because the power output will have no market on good days.
We become hostage to short-term weather events.
There is a multitude of uncertainties.
How rapidly will costs come down? Will subsidies still be available? What size should the batteries actually be?
How can such a huge expenditure be allowed to sit idle, used only in exceptional circumstances?
If they are charged/discharged daily, replacement becomes necessary after 1400 cycles ie four years (NREL advice).
Planning under these circumstances becomes a gamble, and in view of the precedents, one cannot be optimistic.

Brian Stanmore,


Good heavens, Bendigo.

The ultra-right are in good form in this week’s Bendigo Weekly (April 6).
Eric Lakey should read the front page, “Money Pit”, before attacking Labor. That’s business in action. Not forgetting huge corporations like Qantas which claim capital losses and pay no tax.
The Tasmanian Liberals declare nothing and receive payouts from gambling.
The federal Liberals allow big business to pay almost no tax while doing nothing to increase wages for the poorer workers.
Tony Dewhurst whined about poor retirees. If he had read the policy detail, he would find that only very wealthy retirees will lose some of their investment base.
I’m grateful that I grew up in an era of free education, cheap housing and full employment.
I don’t expect to romp around living the good life, as a consequence of growing up at the right time in Australia’s history, while young people are unemployed or working shifts at all hours; or can’t afford to buy a modest home.
How Helen Leach can condone the hypocritical conduct of those Opposition MPs on Good Friday is incomprehensible.
I don’t think Australia is a great nation today. We are, by and large, xenophobic, lacking compassion, selfish and racist. And we cheat at cricket.

Kate Olliver,
Spring Gully


Road manners matter

My congratulations to both Richard Liddelow and Brendan Wright re their letters concerning driver behaviour.
I use Condon Street roundabout many times daily with my heart in my mouth as I approach.
Brendan could not have written it more succinctly, “move left before turning left”. “Move to the centre line when turning right”. Keep the flow of traffic, have consideration for others. Be aware who else is around you.
Maybe driver trainers should teach consideration? Or maybe that’s a mum or dad thing?
Surely good manners on the road and excellent driving skills aren’t that uncool?
Either way, I suspect those with consideration read Viewpoint Opinion page.
Those that don’t, are elsewhere, being self absorbed.

Kylie Robinson,
Flora Hill